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Thread: Black-market incandescent bulbs ?

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* yuandrew's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Chino Hills, CA

    Default Black-market incandescent bulbs ?

    “All right, now here’s the lowdown. Through a certain connection, I’ve been able to locate some black-market full wattage incandescent light bulbs. They all come from Mexico and from what I heard; those Mexicans are fanatic about their lighting quality.

    Nevertheless, sometime later today, there will be an unmarked gray Ford E250 cargo van waiting behind the Café. I’m expecting a call from the driver at any time. Is anyone in for a group buy?”

    Well, I based the opening above on a quote from Sienfield Episode 126 "The Shower Head" (Season 7, Episode 15) in which Newman, Jerry, and Kramer were discussing black market shower heads to replace the low flow models that their landlord had recently installed in their apartments.

    In the real world though, during the switch from the 3 gallon per flush toilets to the 1.6 gallon low flow toilets in the early 1990's, I had heard stories of people so unsatisfied with the poor performance of early low flow toilets that a black-market for older 3.5 gallon toilets smuggled in from Canada formed. With the upcoming ban on incandescent bulbs in the US coming in the next two years (2012), I wonder if a similar black market will form for light bulbs.
    Last edited by yuandrew; 11-10-2009 at 06:08 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Flushing, NY

    Default Re: Black-market incandescent bulbs ?

    There is no explicit ban on incandescent bulbs in the US but rather minimum efficiency guidelines ( see here ). New tech incandescents such as halogen IRC will be able to meet some of the new guidelines. The minimum efficiency requirements rise to 45 lm/W by 2020 however, and barring some exotic new filament material, that will be a defacto ban on incandescents. Down the road if LED or other new technology proves viable the minimum efficiency may be increased past 45 lm/W, perhaps even to the point that CFLs will be effectively banned as well.

    As for black markets, think about the risk and cost inherent in running a black market. This is why black market products typically sell at higher prices than they would if they were legal. So a "black market" incandescent might well cost as much or more than alternatives. Given that a lot of the general public bases their purchasing decisions on initial cost above all else, I somehow doubt someone black marketing incandescents will make enough to make it worth their while. Also, a larger question if a black market develops will be who will make the bulbs? Even China has said they will cease incandescent production within a decade. If you look at the history of black markets, usually the item being sold was either a banned addictive substance, or fulfilled some role for which they were no ready substitutes (i.e. certain classes of weapons). Incandescents are none of these things. They aren't addictive (except to people on this forum but then so are LEDs, HIDs, etc. ), and there exist viable substitutes for most uses which will only get better with time. And as mentioned the black market cost most likely would exceed the cost of those substitutes.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2009

    Default Re: Black-market incandescent bulbs ?


    "Exempted from the ban on this basis:
    * rough service / shatter-resistant / vibration service
    * 3-way

    Wonder if that includes ceiling fan lights?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Black-market incandescent bulbs ?

    There is no one spokesperson for China that can announce what they will or won't produce with any authority/reasonable expectation, they will make what sells and the rest is up to the buyers. The main reason a black market for incan bulbs is not viable is CCFLs have dropped in price quite a bit over the last decade and as previously noted they aren't entirely banned, it's more like a nonsensical concession that they are needed but their use is discouraged.

    The truely funny thing is it's totally backwards thinking. We do not need to conserve power we need to simply implement soft-on incan outlets to preserve their life and build a few nuclear and geothermal power plants. Efficiency is not the problem, using up natural resources, pollution from more sophisticated light sources is. The world has gone so mad they will effectively take the simplest things and turn them into costly problems. A regular incan bulb can be almost entirely recycled, and inexpensively. LED and CCFL bulbs + electronics not so much.
    Last edited by J_C; 11-12-2009 at 11:11 AM.

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